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Update 11/23/2020: Creepshow, French Forensics and 45 RPMs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 23, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

So this weekend began Friday night with me going to my buddy Zach’s after work. I had asked him to order a 45 for me of Blood Ceremony‘s Let It Come Down/Loving You (the latter being a rocking cover version of the song by Scottish heavy rock band Iron Claw.). It is a brilliant single and the artwork is appropriately weird and beautiful. I have been meaning to buy it for some time but have put it off until I recently noticed it was becoming scarce, so before it became completely unavailable or outpriced, I had him order a copy for me off of Amazon. I was please to see that my copy was purple vinyl.

Let it Come Down by Blood Ceremony (2014, Rise Above).

When I got there we ate some subs from Jersey Mikes and watched a few episodes of the ew Creepshow series, which were a lot of fun, in particular we enjoyed the segment The House of the Head from the first episode. Very creepy indeed.

I spent most of the remaining weekend at home, watching a French television show, Balthazar, about a forensic scientist, a charming rogue who seems to be able to do just about anything it seems. According to his backstory, Raphaël Balthazar underwent a personal trauma several years before which causes him to have hallucinations where he talks to the shades of the decedents he autopsies, who give him insights into the cases he helps solve with the harried, but engaging, detective Hélène Bach. It’s a fun show, kind of like a continental take on Kathy ReichsBones. I am on season 2 already and am burning through the episodes at least 2 or 3 per viewing session.

I have been listening to some of the music from my childhood lately. A couple weeks ago I picked up used copies of recently remastered CD versions of the first two albums by PFM. I cannot believe the difference in the clarity of these CDs. I have some Japanese CDs of the same albums that I bought in the early 90s that have been on my play rotation for years but they never sounded this good. These new versions are also Japanese but only a couple years old so I guess sound reproduction technology has advanced a lot since then. LOL! I only wish this version had the La carozza di Hans/Impresssioni di settembre single tacked on at the end.

I also have pulled out my CD of the Camel compilation Lunar Sea. They have always been a second tier band for me, but they do have some great tunes on their first few albums. My favorite of the lot is Free Falling, followed by Rhayader. I always thought their sound lacked an edge but neither were they delicate or intricate enough in the softer spots. The vocals were their weakest point, which is probably why a good portion of their journeyman output is instrumental. That said, their 1974 album Snow Goose is a great example of their melodic instrumental work at its peak.

Update 11/18/2020: Krampus chapbook and kind words from a friend.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This has been a pretty good morning thus far. Yesterday my dear friend Shawna (daughter of my buddy Rand) shared a Facebook memory from a while back promoting the Greetings from Krampus chapbook my buddy Dick Kelly and I made. At the time, I didn’t sell a single copy, but gave a few away as presents for Christmas. She had mentioned in her post that copies were still available, so I decided to re-share my original post as well to remind my friends that they could still obtain this limited edition chapbook. Before I knew it, I sold two copies, and this morning I sold three more! I still have a box of them, so anyone interested can just say so in the comments and I will contact you about shipping. They are $5 per booklet and $3 for shipping.

Also awaiting me in my work email was this kind response from Scott J. Couturier regarding my Averoigne tribute tale, The Fell Fete with a nod to my poem Moribond.

Ah, ‘The Felle (sic) Fete!’ It has the sense of Smith’s Averoigne, but channeled through your own aesthetic sensibility…& a brilliant stroke, to focus on the fae. Also enjoy your syncretic worldbuilding, & the subtle references to other Smith & Lovecraft tales — &, of course, the final soul-harvesting denouement. I read it aloud to Shayne, who was struck especially by the appearance & description of your Black Piper. I really enjoyed this tale, & Anacleto’s fate is perhaps to be envied, achieving a thrill of the numinous amid the dread(!). Also cool to see Moribond in action, your poem of the same name being a highlight for me in Spectral Realms #13.

He also gave me some advice on my rewrite of Black Hymeneal, most of which I implemented. I hope to resubmit the poem to Spectral Realms soon, but I shall give it a day or two to review before sending it out again.

Update 11/19/2020:

I pulled out Black Hymeneal again this morning for a fresh look and found a line that was technically okay but didn’t feel right, so I rearranged some words and made a couple changes to set it right. I may send it to S.T. Joshi first to see if he’ll take it for Spectral Realms #15.

Midsommar (2019)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 16, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This past weekend I attended another movie night at my buddy Zach’s house. Our other buddy Zac B. was there as well. We had some shrimp & tortellini and drank several mixed drinks. After much deliberation, we put on Midsommar (2019) by Ari Aster. I have mixed feelings about it, but over all I felt it was a good movie. SPOILER ALERT!
It was at times beautiful and I loved the folk art. The tapestries in particular were charming and horrifying, as well as informative, essentially laying out major plot points to come. Apparently this was Aster’s tribute to Wicker Man (1973), one of my favorite movies, and it shows. In fact, Midsommar seemed to me an update with the gore amped up to the nth degree. I don’t know how necessary it was to linger on the cliff scene, which I found a bit gorier than necessary (what is it with Aster and smashing heads?), but most of the other stuff didn’t bother me as much. There were some plot holes that didn’t fit for me, like the vanishing book. Who took it? The only person who made a move for it got caught red-handed, and the only other who might have dome it was otherwise occupied. Still, I am glad that I saw it.

Tapestry from the opening scene of Midsommar, showing major plot points to come.

Update 11/13/2020: rewrites and revisions.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 13, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I have spent this week trying to clean up some older poems of mine that I’ve deemed worthy of trying to salvage. Among them are my dark romantic poems The Lugubrious Gondolier, and Black Hymeneal. I did a lot of pruning on the former to create a uniform syllabic count but now that I am at the final couplet I am apt to lose some pertinent information if I cut down the line. I am now considering going back and restoring some of the previously edited phrases and perhaps even lengthen some of the other lines to include more information and keep some of the marvelous bits I’d culled in an effort to provide uniformity. We’ll see.

This morning I decided to pull up my old chestnut Black Hymeneal to see if I could save it and I think I have improved it considerably. I do however have some concerns over the placement of the caesura, which differs from the rest of the poem. I have sent it to my fellow weird poet Scott J. Couturier to see what he thinks. It’s always good to have a second opinion in these cases.

Update 10/13/2020: Horror Manga, Manuscripts and Books of Blood

Posted in Uncategorized on November 13, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

11/13/2020: This is a post I wrote a month ago that for some reason I couldn’t get to post.

Greetings! I know it’s been a while since the last time I checked in, but I have been a bit burnt out lately with all the craziness going on in the world and just couldn’t bring myself to write anything.

This past Friday evening, I went to my buddy Zach’s house as I had the previous week or so, to work on putting together a manuscript for the book I am working on with Dan Sauer. I was having issues with the document on my work PC so he agreed to help me get the basic file set up. I got us some burgers for supper and afterword we watched some videos. The first thing we watched was the new Books of Blood movie, which is a portmanteau film consisting of a few different storylines which loosely interacted with one another, as in Michael Dougherty‘s Trick ‘r Treat (2007).

It was entertaining, but not a definitive adaptation. The only actor I recognized was Anna Friel, whom I had not seen in anything since the half-baked comedy adaptation of the kids show Land of the Lost (2009). I had a school boy crush on her from when she was in Pushing Daises (2007-2009) and was glad to see her again. She looked different, for sure, but she still looked great, and she was convincing as the grieving mother, Psychic Researcher Mary Florescu, in her segment based on the tale The Book of Blood. None of the other segments seem to be direct adaptations, although Zach said the one with the boarding house had elements of a tale he could not quite recall the title of.

We then watched the Tomie episodes of the new anime series based on the Horror Manga of Junji Ito. Tomie is my favorite of Ito’s characters, and it was cool to see the drawings come to life, even if they weren’t identical to the original drawings.

I also bought a DVD this weekend of the Arrow Films remaster for the slasher movie Alice, Sweet Alice (1976). It was a lot different than what I expected. It was sort of like a cross between An early Dario Argento giallo and Nicolas Roeg‘s Don’t Look Now (1973). There was much talk of Hitchcock in the commentary, and I suppose one could compare it to Psycho (1960), or Frenzy (1972), but it was a bit more exploitative than that. Still, it was a genuine thriller and not the trashy film I had previously understood it to be, and I am glad to have it in my collection.



Update 11/10/2020: Felling Shelob the Spider

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

I don’t have anything of consequence to share, but just figured that I should check in and say “hello!”. I have been a bit distracted by the elections and worn out from doing some overtime shifts at work. I feel worn out, but I will appreciate the work I put in once I get that sweet OT pay.

I have been slowly (oh so very slowly) working on a few different tales, as well as touching up some that I have revised and am hoping to resubmit once I find a suitable venue to send them to. I recently sent my updated author bio to S.T. Joshi for Spectral Realms #14, which is apparently revving up to be released sometime in early 2021. I have two poems in that one: H.P.L. R.I.P. and Greetings from Krampus. I need to get cracking on a new poem or prose piece for the following issue, as submissions fill up fast once an issue hits the stands. I have a couple old ones I am working on cleaning up but am not sure if they’ll be ready in time.

Last Sunday I called off my weekly lunch plans I had with my friend photographer Bill Goodman so that I could rest up after a draining week. Instead, I allowed myself to get roped into helping my buddies Rand Lyons and Dick Kelly take down Shelob the Spider from the entryway over at the Alwun House. This is something I have helped with in past years post Halloween and I couldn’t refuse them. Several of their art friends were there and I got to meet some interesting fellows. We took down the giant spider then sang happy birthday to my Planet Poe colleague Brian. Dick took a couple of snapshots of me under the spider, the best of which I shall share below.

Me shying from Shelob at the Alwun House 11/08/2020.

Update 11/4/2020: Illustration of Rosaire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 4, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night my friend, artist Sarah Walker contacted me about her illustration ideas for the inclusion of Rosaire, Master of Wolves in the folk-horror anthology A Walker in a Darker Wood, which should be published by Oxygen Man before the end of 2020. In response I sent her a small list of things to keep in mind regarding the story. One of the points I brought up as reference for the look of the werewolves were the woodcuts from the era in which the story takes place (approximately in the mid 18th century). She liked the idea and within the time it took for me to drive home from work she came up with this excellent illustration.

Illustration by Sarah Walker for Rosaire, Master of Wolves.

Musings on Past the Glad and Sunlit Season

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 3, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

This past week, just in time for Halloween, I received in the post my autographed copy of Past the Glad and Sunlit Season. For those of you who are not familiar with this title, it is the new book of Halloween-themed poetry from the Pumpkin King himself, weird poet, K.A. Opperman. Mr. Opperman is a Halloween enthusiast and his love for, and knowledge of all things Halloween are reflected in this book. His poems are filled with the lore and legendary of the holiday referencing everything from its Celtic origins and the customary tropes of ghosts, witches, black cats, jack-o’-lanterns and trick-or-treating, to the more sinister forces that roam the night roads when the veil is thinnest betwixt the realms of the living and the dead. The book is separated into three sections As Mr. Opperman explains in his introduction:
“The first section, Orange Gleams, contains poems that foreshadow the haunted season beyond summer; poems of longing for autumn, and of October’s chill arrival. The second section, October’s Moon, is comprised of poems about the various ghosts, goblins, and other strange characters that come out when the Hunter’s Moon rises orange and bright. The third and final section, Twilight Rites, focuses on the day of Halloween itself, its rituals and traditions, and the sad, gray aftermath of the festival as it dissolves into November mists. This is not simply a book of generic spooky poetry, as collections of ‘Halloween poetry’ so often are. These are poems with a careful and concentrated focus on Halloween itself, and directly related subjects. Some of them are meant merely as seasonal entertainment, but a great many of them, whether in plain speech or veiled symbolism, record my personal ideas, traditions, and philosophies regarding Halloween.”

Past the Glad and Sunlit Season: Poems for Halloween by K.A. Opperman (2020, Jackanapes Press).


The book is lovely, and its presentation is equally charming with a cover that harkens back to a vintage Halloween iconography, curtesy of illustrator/graphic designer Dan Sauer, who also does the amazing illustrations featured within the book.
A few choice pics are also available as orange tinted prints on the site at JackanapesPress.com, my favorite being the one for The Spirit of Halloween:

I showed it to my parents when I visited them on the morning of the 31st, and they loved it and decided they wanted to get their own copy, as well as individual t-shirts featuring the pumpkin crest from the cover art. They had seen mine and thought it was spiffy.

In fine, I highly recommend this book which, in my estimation, is destined to become a holiday classic. For more information on the book and all of the related merch go to https://www.jackanapespress.com/

Update 10/27/2020: Penumbra contributor copy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 27, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I received my contributor copy of Penumbra #1 through the mail. It is a lot heavier than I expected, over 300 pages of content! This is chock full of stories, poetry and essays on weird literature topics. My version of the Bloody Mary origin story, The Hell of Mirrors, is featured in this issue, I had a co-worker take a pic of me with my book…



Me with my contributor copy of Penumbra #1 wearing my No Hugs t-shirt I got from Mutartis Boswell.

Update 10/21/2020: Rosaire sees the light in a Dark Wood

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 21, 2020 by Manuel Paul Arenas

Last night I got a heads-up from my fellow weird poet, Scott J. Couturier that my Rosaire, Master of Wolves is to appear in the folk horror anthology A Walk in a Darker Wood. I had submitted it to Sarah Walker, one of the folks over at Oxygen Man Books for possible inclusion in a proposed second volume for which it was tentatively accepted. That said, Mr. Couturier sent me a listing of the Table of Contents for the initial volume and it has been squeezed in there instead. The TOC is as follows:

Who Maketh Fertile the Fields? – David Barker

Observations of a Black Toad – Phil Breach

The Silhouettes – D. L. Myers

Towards A Place Where Everything’s Better – S. L. Edwards

The Scarlet Room – Adam Bolivar

Moonville – John H. Howard

Therein lies a tail – Duane Pesice

Rosaire, Master of Wolves – Manuel Arenas

Putting Down Roots – Russell Smeaton

There Came the Sun – Ivan Zoric

Spring Leanings – A.P. Sessler

Morton’s Woods – Jill Hand

Jack and the Magic Ham – Adam Bolivar

The Fork in the Road – Ashley Dioses

Cat-o’-Lantern – K. A. Opperman

The King of Mudlings – Shayne K. Keen

The Willow-Stand – Scott J. Couturier

Greenfingers – Sarah Walker

The Blackdamp – William Tea

A Slow Remembered Tide — John Linwood Grant

The Untold History of the Grimorium – Maxwell I, Gold

Fine and Fancy Arms – Gordon B. White

Her Dark Hymn – Hayley Arrington

Hyenas – Michael S. Walker

King of the Wood – Can Wiggins

Of Blood and Flowers – Chelsea Arrington

I will of course post more information on this as it becomes available.